Thursday, July 4th, 2024 Posted by Jim Thacker

Nekki unveils Cascadeur 2024.2

Nekki has unveiled Cascadeur 2024.2, the new version of the AI-assisted animation app.

The update, due for release in August 2024, will add support for blendshapes, making it possible to create facial morph targets for characters as well as full-body animation.

Other new features include the Separation Motion Physics tool, shown in the video above, for adjusting a character’s pose during physics-driven movements.

Create animations based on real-world physics, aided by AI-based tools
Launched in 2019, Cascadeur is intended as an artist-friendly alternative to conventional animation software for game development, motion graphics or visual effects work.

Although it has standard tools for rigging, posing and animating characters, its unique selling point is a set of AI-assisted, semi-automated toolsets.

Key poses can be quickly established for a character via the AutoPosing system, which lets users reposition a small number of joints, and have Cascadeur take care of the rest of the body.

For a jumping character, the software can then calculate a physically correct trajectory between the key poses.

For other types of motion, a separate AI-trained system, AutoPhysics, converts an existing keyframe animation into a physically accurate version of itself.

Once generated, animations may be exported the FBX, Collada or USD format for use in other DCC applications, or game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine.

Cascadeur 2024.2: Separation Motion Physics Tool and facial blendshapes
New features in Cascadeur 2024.2 include the Separation Motion Physics tool, intended to make complex physics-driven movements more realistic by enabling users to adjust the character’s pose: for example, to reposition the limbs or bend the body.

The AutoPhysics system will be updated to make it possible to solve “pendulum-like animations”, such as a gymnast performing swings on a horizontal bar.

The update will also introduce support for facial blendshapes, making it possible to create “detailed facial expressions and morph targets” for characters.

Other planned changes include updates to Cascadeur’s mocap cleaning and animation editing tools, and “more intuitive” auto-posing.

Price, system requirements and release date
Cascadeur 2024.2 is due for release in August 2024.

The current stable release, Cacacadeur 2024.1, is compatible with Windows 10+, Ubuntu 20.04+ Linux and macOS 13.3+.

For users earning under $100,000/year, Indie subscriptions cost $99/year. Pro subscriptions cost $49/month or $399/year and add advanced features.

Both are rent-to-own plans, with users qualifying for a perpetual license after one year.

There is also a free edition, which is not licensed for commercial use, and saves animation in its own .casc file format, making it impossible to use in other DCC apps.

Read a list of new features due in Cascadeur 2024.2 on the software’s Trello board

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Editor’s note: in the light of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, readers may wish to know that Nekki’s dev teams are located in Russia, although the company is headquartered in Cyprus.